Veritas, Sun Eye CIM Products

In addition, SNIA trade group will announce next week its control of the CIM, Bluefin storage standards.

Veritas Software Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. are among a number of companies planning to roll out storage management products in upcoming months based on the CIM and Bluefin specifications.

And it comes at a time when their primary trade association, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), is about to announce its control of the two specs, along with the Web-Based Enterprise Management, or WBEM, transport mechanism.

SNIA, of Mountain View, Calif., on Monday is going to roll out its Storage Management Initiative, which will involve creating a new, as-yet unnamed committee charted to advance storage management. The goal of SNIA is to either become or partner with an official standards-setting body, said Brad Stamas, chairman of SNIAs board of directors. The committee will also explore ways to expand CIM (Common Information Model) beyond Fibre Channel products and with NAS (network-attached storage) systems, he said.

CIM is a universal language for storage products to speak; Bluefin is the implementation specification.

Veritas is counting on the success of the committee and the technology: Roger Reich, senior director of interface standards for Veritas, will head the committee. Internally, Veritas is readying a CIM-based product called Global Operation Manager, CTO Paul Borrill said in an interview last week.

GOM is a browser-based portal built on top of CIM, said Mike Tardif, vice president of technology strategy of Veritas, also in Mountain View. It will debut in mid-2003, will manage all of Veritas software and will probably also manage the backup software of vendors like said Computer Associates International Inc. and Legato Systems Inc., he said.

The timing of GOM could be vital to its success. If Veritas doesnt roll out ahead of its rivals, it could lose user mindshare, said one analyst.

"Ive seen these guys fail to execute many times," said Steve Kenniston, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group, in Milford, Mass., and former Veritas employee.

Sun, in Santa Clara, is also preparing for CIM software. Sun will soon announce a CIM-based upgrade to its StorEdge management suite, officials said, declining further comment.

But industry officials, including Stamas, acknowledge that for CIM to succeed under the SNIA umbrella, the association must first overcome the image of being just a marketing group controlled by vendor agendas and politics.

"If the principals want to come to the table and get the work done, there isnt anything in the SNIA structure thats going to prevent them from doing that. The real question is whether the groups that are interested in it can continue to carry the activity forward," Stamas said.

CIM underwent several years of development by the Distributed Management Task Force, and Bluefin took about two years of development by a group called the Partner Development Process. Both groups are engineering-focused and have far fewer participants than SNIA. The new SNIA work shouldnt take as long, because its less complicated than the actual development, Stamas said.

Others doubt that.

"I love the idea of somebody coming up with a way to manage across everything, [but] Im always skeptical. I dont think its going to happen," said Marty Boos, chief architect and vice president of IS at Digital River Inc., an e-commerce and Internet marketing company in Eden Prairie, Minn.